Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood appears to have had yet another attempt at off-the-cuff humor fall flat.
The 85-year-old Oscar-winning director and actor made a crack about transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner while presenting at Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards, which the network says they will cut before it airs. Eastwood was introducing “San Andreas” star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and referenced athletes who had transitioned into acting, and then he listed “Jim Brown and Caitlyn Somebody…”
According to Hollywood Life, the “joke” drew groans instead of laughs from the audience. Spike TV has wasted no time distancing themselves from Eastwood. “We will remove the reference in the version that will air,” David Schwarz, Spike TV senior vice president of communications, confirmed in an email to USA Today.
Eastwood previously sparked controversy with an infamous, ill-fated comedy routine at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The “Dirty Harry” star pretended to hold a conversation with a seated, imaginary President Obama, whom he portrayed as having a foul mouth. The speech, which was apparently unscripted and aired during prime-time, was widely viewed as an embarrassment for the GOP.
Meanwhile, Eastwood is far from the only celebrity to express ambiguity or poke fun at Caitlyn Jenner’s identity. Rapper Snoop Dogg was heavily criticized for comparing Jenner to a “science project” in a social media post that went viral earlier this month. Cleveland Cavaliers star J.R. Smith and controversial R&B singer Chris Brown were among the celebs who initially shared Snoop Dogg’s meme, before deleting it. Talk show host Wendy Williams, hip-hop producer Timbaland, and singer Drake Bell have also all made jokes at Jenner’s expense recently.
Despite the backlash from some circles, Jenner has also been praised for her bravery. She will receive the ESPYs annual Arthur Ashe Courage Award next month. On Saturday she tweeted an inspirational photo showing her embracing five other trans women from behind. Jenner captioned the photo: “Learn from those who have walked the path before you. #TransIsBeautiful #LivingOurTruth #JustTheBeginning.”